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Venango County Man Held for Court in Homicide Case
According to court documents, during a preliminary hearing in Venango County Central Court on Friday, September 13, 48-year-old Clayton James Hindman, of Polk, was held for court on the following charges:
– Criminal Homicide, Felony 1
– Aggravated Assault, Felony 1
– Possessing Instrument Of Crime W/Intent, Misdemeanor 1
– Simple Assault, Misdemeanor 2
– Recklessly Endangering Another Person, Misdemeanor 2
The case has been transferred to the Venango County Court of Common Pleas.
Hindman remains lodged in the Venango County Jail.
Details of the case:
The charges stem from an incident that occurred sometime between July 3, 2019, and July 25, 2019, at a residence located at 101 Hillcrest Avenue, Polk Borough, Venango County.
Welfare Check Initiated on Clayton Hindman
According to a criminal complaint filed on July 27 by Trooper Johnson, of Franklin-based State Police, the Borough of Polk Police Department was contacted around 12:30 p.m. on July 25 by a known Knox female to check on the welfare of her father, Clayton James Hindman, of 110 Hillcrest Avenue.
The known female indicated that she had not heard from her father in several weeks.
Upon the arrival of Polk Borough Police Officers, they found the residence locked and a foul odor coming from inside.
Hindman’s motorcycle was present at the scene, but his truck was not.
The Polk Police Department tried calling the telephone number they had for Hindman, and it rang straight to voicemail and then the department made contact with the landlord who met them at the residence at 4:30 p.m.
Body of Deceased Woman Discovered in Hindman’s Residence
Officers were granted entry into the residence by the landlord, as no occupants would open the door and the doors were locked. Upon entry, a deceased female was discovered lying on her back on the floor of the living room, severely decomposed. The female was completely covered with a blanket except that her legs from the knees down were sticking out from under the blanket. The Venango County Coroner estimated the victim had been deceased for a few weeks.
The Venango County District Attorney’s Office and PSP also responded to the scene. Upon PSP arrival, they were requested to handle the investigation by the Venango County District Attorney.
A search warrant was obtained, and the residence was processed and searched.
According to the complaint, it was noted the deceased female was grasping a pistol in her left hand and the gun was on “safe.” There were several drops of blood located on the floor between the living room and kitchen area. A human tooth was found on the kitchen floor near the furthest droplet of blood located away from the victim.
The deceased is believed to be 38-year-old Salina Poppy Chilson, of Parker, (pictured above) who was reported missing to the Borough of Emlenton Police Department on July 3, 2019.
The female had a necklace that looked like the one Chilson was wearing when she was reported missing. Chilson’s purse and driver’s license were also located at the scene.
Interviews with Chilson’s associates determined that Chilson was right-handed.
Several interviews were conducted with Hindman’s associates, and he hadn’t been seen at or near his house in several weeks. Several weeks of mail were located in Hindman’s mailbox.
Further investigation revealed the residence was rented by Clayton Hindman. This was determined through several pieces of mail and confirmed by the landlord. Within the mail, several bills were located, including bills from Verizon Wireless. Police were provided with a telephone number from Hindman’s associates which is also one of the telephone numbers on the Verizon Wireless bills located at the scene.
Hindman’s Mother Interviewed
According to the complaint, Hindman’s mother was interviewed on July 26, 2019, and she provided PSP with screenshots of a Facebook conversation she had with Valerie Frampton on July 25. Frampton lives in the state of Missouri and is believed to be Hindman’s most recent girlfriend. The messages between Frampton and Hindman’s mother indicated Frampton had contact with Hindman. Frampton sent messages to Hindman’s mother indicated he would contact his family soon, and “it’s bad” and “he would explain later,” the complaint indicates.
On July 27, an autopsy was performed in Pittsburgh by Pathologist Ennis. During the autopsy, a shell casing and bullet were located. It was also noted the victim’s lower jawbone was broken in three places, the complaint states.
Hindman Calls PSP Franklin to Turn Himself In
On July 27, at 11:11 a.m., Clayton Hindman called PSP Franklin to let the station know he was turning himself in to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office in Missouri, according to the complaint.
Hindman was with Frampton in the parking lot of of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office at the time of the call. While talking to Hindman on the phone, he said he was “freaking out and just scared” but he didn’t want to say much without talking to an attorney. Trooper Johnson asked Hindman if he had any questions for him, and he said: “No, I know I’m in trouble.” Hindman said he will be there waiting on Trooper Johnson and that Frampton just found out about it, according to the complaint.
Hindman also made the comment he was “running scared there for a minute,” and his girlfriend (Frampton) talked him into doing the right thing and turning himself in, the complaint states.
Hindman Detained at Douglas County (Missouri) Sheriff’s Office
On July 27, Hindman was detained by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office following his conversation with Trooper Johnson. The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office also took possession of the truck and had it impounded in a secure lot.
Pistol Believed to Be Hindman’s Found at Girlfriend’s House
While searching Frampton’s house (in Missouri), they located a duffle bag and a pistol case containing two Ruger .44 mag pistols believed to be Hindman’s. A clean/NCIC (National Crime Information Center) check of the serial numbers on the pistols yielded negative results.
Frampton also gave the Sheriff’s Office her cell phone voluntarily to be searched.
On July 27, 2019, charges were prepared, and an arrest warrant was granted for Hindman charging him with Aggravated Assault, Possessing Instrument of Crime, Simple Assault, and Recklessly Endangering Another Person. The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office then lodged Hindman into their jail based off the warrant pending extradition proceedings.
Hindman’s Girlfriend Calls PSP Franklin
On July 28, 2019, around 12:14 p.m., Frampton called PSP Franklin via telephone to inquire about her cell phone. The call was on a recorded line, and a copy of the call was placed into evidence. Frampton advised Trooper Johnson, of PSP Franklin, that Clayton Hindman was her boyfriend, and she’s known him for 30 years. Frampton described the relationship as exclusive and long distance.
Frampton said Hindman showed up on a Thursday or Friday the week after the 4th of July. Frampton was leaving for work, and she ran into Hindman pulling into her driveway with his Dodge pickup. Frampton said this was “out of the blue,” and she didn’t know he was coming. Frampton also said that Hindman wasn’t acting like himself and that he spent most of the time in her bedroom sleeping. She got the impression that Hindman wasn’t planning on leaving, according to the complaint.
Hindman gifted Frampton his pickup truck and told her he had done some work on it, and she needed a more reliable vehicle. They went to the Missouri Department of Motor Vehicles where the Dodge pickup was put in her name and registered in Missouri. Frampton said the same week she took Hindman to a barber where he buzzed his head, shaved his face, and he also removed his piercings, the complaint states.
Frampton became more suspicious of Hindman’s activities when she was messaged by Hindman’s mother on Facebook Messenger saying everyone was looking for him. Hindman finally told Frampton what he had done the evening of July 26, 2019. He told Frampton that he was with a guy, and they had been drinking when they went back to his place. Hindman told Frampton that he went to the bathroom, and when he walked out of the bathroom, the guy was standing there pointing a gun at him. Hindman said he made his way to the living room where he retrieved a gun from under a pillow on the couch, and the man continued to point the gun at Hindman, and then he shot the man in the face, the complaint states.
Frampton did some research and noticed the missing woman from Emlenton (Salina Chilson). Frampton asked Hindman if (the person he shot) was Salina Chilson, and he would never say “yes” or “no.” Hindman also wouldn’t provide her with the man’s name, and all he would say is he wasn’t cheating on her. Frampton talked Hindman into turning himself in the next morning (July 27, 2019) to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office in Ava, Missouri. Frampton said Hindman had to assemble his phone by putting the battery back into it, so he could text his family members before turning himself in, the complaint states.
Trooper Johnson Receives Lab Report
On August 8, Trooper Johnson received a lab report indicating the .25 auto pistol found in the victim’s left hand was functional. The report also indicated the bullet fragment found during the autopsy was a .44 caliber and was discharged from a firearm having six lands and grooves with a right twist. The bullet had to be discharged from one of the following manufacturers: Hawes, Herter’s, Hy Hunter, Intercont, Ruger, or Sauer and Sohn.
Trooper Johnson Receives Photos of Victim Taken During Autopsy
On August 9, Trooper Johnson received 57 photographs taken of the victim during the autopsy. Trooper Johnson observed a tattoo on the upper back of the victim that appeared to match the “out to lunch” tattoo Salina Chilson was known to have. Trooper Johnson also viewed a photograph of Salina Chilson’s tattoo from her Facebook page, and it appeared to be the same tattoo.
Hindman’s Cell Messages Revealed
On August 12, Trooper Johnson received results of a search warrant from Hindman’s Verizon Wireless account.
As part of the results, Trooper Johnson was able to get text messages sent to and from Hindman which also identifies the telephone number sending and receiving the messages.
There were several messages sent between Hindman and Chilson between June 30, 2019, and July 3, 3019. The messages sent between Hindman and Chilson have them meeting at the Unimart in Emlenton on the morning of July 3, 2019.
On July 17, 2019, Hindman sent the following message to a separate known number: “I am so (expletive), bad (expletive)” and also “Mustang layin in my live room.”
Hindman also sent a message: “she tried to shoot me.”
The messages go back and forth, and Hindman received messages saying: “There doing a welfare check on her and she needs to call them,” and “dude cops are. Looking for her.”
Hindman also sent the message: “Its called state pen, I am (expletive) hun. Given you my lady’s no so you can keep her in the known.”
Hind also received messages telling him to throw his phone in the river, and Hindman said: “I pull the chip on regular.”
Hindman Signs Waiver, Consent to Return
On August 15, 2019, Hindman signed a Waiver of Extradition and Consent to Return in Douglas County Missouri.
Preliminary Findings from Forensics Received
On August 16, 2019, Trooper Johnson received preliminary findings from Dr. Dennis Dirkmaat, Forensic Anthropologist at Mercyhurst University. Dirkmatt was requested by the PA State Police and the Venango County Coroner’s Office to examine the victim’s body.
Dirkmaat’s preliminary conclusions are as follows:
There is a large defect present on the occipital bone of the cranium. The defect is interpreted as being from a gunshot event. The defect is not circular, and external beveling is present, likely indicating an exit wound. There is no obvious entrance wound due to the large amount of fragmentation in the facial region one the cranium. Several teeth exhibit horizontal and vertical cracking, and the mandible has been fractured through the midline. The high degree of fragmentation anteriorly (mid-face) and likely exit wound posteriority indicate that the trajectory of the bullet was in an anterior (front) to posterior (back) direction. The significant amount of damage in the facial region, as well as the degree of damage of the exit wound, may suggest a larger caliber bullet. Throughout processing, small metallic fragments, likely copper were found in association with small fragments of a red plastic material.
Hindman Extradicted from Douglas County, Missouri, to Venango County; Arraigned; Jailed; Awaiting Preliminary Hearing
On August 26, 2019, members of the PA State Police flew to Douglas County, Missouri, where they took possession of Hindman and evidence collected by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, as well as the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
Hindman was arraigned at 4:09 p.m. on Tuesday, August 27, in Magisterial District Judge Matthew T. Kirtland’s office.
His bail was denied. The bail action reason is listed as “flight risk.”
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